Director of Communications, Scenic Hudson, Inc.
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Recognitions honor success in preserving, interpreting historic foundry site
COLD SPRING (PUTNAM COUNTY)—Scenic Hudson has received two prestigious awards honoring the organization’s success in protecting and connecting people to the remains of the West Point Foundry—one of America’s most important 19th-century ironworks—at its West Point Foundry Preserve in Cold Spring.
At a ceremony in Albany on Dec. 4, Scenic Hudson was one of seven recipients of a 2014 New York State Historic Preservation Award, given annually by the State Historic Preservation Office, a division of New York’s Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. The award cited Scenic Hudson’s “outstanding contribution to transforming the site of the abandoned West Point Foundry in Cold Spring into a new park that interprets the property’s industrial history and natural environment.”
On Oct. 14 the organization received the 2014 John Augustus Roebling Award from the Roebling Chapter of the Society for Industrial Archeology for its work at the 87-acre preserve, located in a dramatic forested ravine. The citation noted that “Scenic Hudson has improved access, public outreach and, most significantly, thoroughly planned and supported seven years of historical and archaeological research. The result is a nature preserve that includes preservation and interpretation of historic remains of an industrial site of national importance.” Past recipients of the Roebling Award include Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park and the High Line in New York City.
“These awards underscore that West Point Foundry Preserve is a tremendous historic and cultural resource that Scenic Hudson has had the honor to preserve and transform into a special place for learning and outdoor experiences. The park is a testament to collaboration we have had with the Putnam History Museum and Putnam County, and it would not have been possible without support from generous individuals, foundation and government grants, and other partners. The project demonstrates the benefits of Governor Cuomo’s Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council and its commitment to invest in creating jobs through the Hudson Valley’s great natural, historic and cultural treasures,” said Scenic Hudson President Ned Sullivan.
Awards celebrate success of major construction project providing new trails, amenities
Both awards honor the completion of a $3.6-million construction project to stabilize the substantial foundry ruins and provide new trails and interpretive features, creating an “outdoor museum” that enables visitors to understand West Point Foundry’s importance. Funding came from public and private sources. New York State through the Environmental Protection Fund was a major investor in the project via grants administered by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
New amenities recount the foundry’s contributions to the Industrial Revolution—it manufactured some of the nation’s first locomotives, steamships and pipes for New York City’s water system; its role in the Civil War, producing Parrott guns—cannons credited with giving the North a decisive edge; and the land’s remarkable ecological renewal. The historic interpretation benefited greatly from Scenic Hudson’s sponsorship of seven years of archaeological fieldwork conducted by students and teachers in Michigan Technological University’s Industrial Archaeology Program led by Dr. Patrick Martin.
Last April, Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects, which led the construction project’s design team, won an Honor Award from the New York Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects for its work at West Point Foundry Preserve.
“We’re thrilled that this recognition will help encourage more people to discover this already popular park. We and our partners who helped create the West Point Foundry Preserve believe it offers a must-see destination for all who wish to explore its fascinating stories of our nation’s and our region’s past. Scenic Hudson also is gratified that the park benefits local residents who frequent it and also gain from the boost it gives to the tourism economies of Cold Spring and Putnam County,” said Scenic Hudson Director of Parks Rita Shaheen.
About Scenic Hudson
Scenic Hudson works to protect and restore the Hudson River and its majestic landscape as an irreplaceable national treasure and a vital resource for residents and visitors. A crusader for the valley since 1963, we are credited with saving fabled Storm King Mountain from a destructive industrial project and launching the modern grass-roots environmental movement. Today with more than 25,000 ardent supporters, we are the largest environmental group focused on the Hudson River Valley. Our team of experts combines land acquisition, support for agriculture, citizen-based advocacy and sophisticated planning tools to create environmentally healthy communities, champion smart economic growth, open up riverfronts to the public and preserve the valley’s inspiring beauty and natural resources. To date Scenic Hudson has created or enhanced more than 65 parks, preserves and historic sites up and down the Hudson River and conserved over 35,000 acres.